The Angloville program in Poland was finishing, so considering that our hotel was near to Warsaw, I decided to find a way to travel to Warsaw and then get on public transport to reach Prague. A local participant from the program gave me and a few others a lift to a town near by, from where we hopped on a bus to Warsaw. From Warsaw I got on a night bus to Prague, Czech Republic which got me in the city at 5am. My CouchSurfing host Dan, was alright with me arriving at crazy o’clock and he greeted me with a big smile once I got to his place. I was so tired from the night ride, I didn’t really manage to sleep, despite my travel companion being the most comfortable, random, big, bear person I have slept on public transport – but that’s another story for another article.
Once I reached my host’s house I wanted to sleep for a few hours before we went out to explore the city. When I woke up Dan and his mom were downstairs talking and once I had finished with my morning routine and walked out of the bathroom, I had the pleasure of meeting Dan’s mom who has laid a very generous breakfast on the table and we ended up chatting and eating for a while before me and Dan left to roam the city.
Prague is beautiful, I loved the architecture in town centre, every street showcasts big and nice buildings so you better look up on a regular basis.
When we walked in town, there was a car and motorcycles show. I did not understand how things were linked, but there were many people in wheelchairs who were at the show and there was an exhibition dedicated to people with disabilities who are into cars and motorcycles.
We watched the cars for a while and then walked on one of the main streets, on which is the biggest shop for toys I’ve ever been to. I must say I enjoyed it and in the same time was smitten as to the amount of toys there are that are created for the entertainment of kids, 20 years ago there wasn’t even 10% of what there is nowadays. I must say, I did go into the slide in the shop and I really liked it – forever a child, huh!
Dan took me round the major parts of the city. In town there was a stage with live music and tons of Brits on stag parties. I couldn’t help myself but get a picture with this lovely lady at Charles Bridge.
Charles Bridge does provide you with some wonderful views of the river and it is full of religious statues and sculptures that are apparently supposed to bring you luck and make your wishes come true if you touch and pray to them. So there were many people walking from one side of the bridge to the other to touch and kiss statues and pray and wish. I wondered if these statues and sculptures could do stats and communicate these to us, what would the stats be like? What do people wish for most often, or rarely ever…what about the differences in wishes across genders, age, race, nationalities. Sorry, I side tracked into my psychologist brain with the never ending questioning and curiosity.
After a walk across the bridge we went to the Senate, which had beautiful gardens and peacocks.
After a brief walk in the gardens of the Senate we headed back to town, walked across another bridge and took some more amazing pictures.
On our way back we ended up in town centre, where the stage was and at the time it was so very crowded as the bands were playing and people have flooded the streets and squares. We had the chance to watch the medieval Astronomical Clock on the hour, with the figures moving and a bell ringing. According to aunt Wikipedia ”The Astronomical clock was first installed in 1410, making it the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world and the oldest one still operating.”
Dan and I wondered around for another hour or two before we headed back to his house. We were both tired and according to my phone, we have walked approximately 17km for the day.
Once we walked into Dan’s house we found really nice sandwiches and sweets waiting for us on the table. We sat down and soon after his mom and his dad came to chat to us. It was fairly amusing that I could understand some of the Czech and at times was replying to Dan’s parents without waiting for his translation. We spoke for a couple of hours and it felt so nice and interesting to discuss things with a generation which had a very different life than mine and also from a cultural perspective – I could compare how alike and how different were the experiences of Dan’s family to my family’s experiences during the communists.
I must say Dan and his family were so hospitable, so nice, so caring, I felt like a special guest and I wish I could stay longer or at least go back to see them again. The relationships created on the road can be so powerful, due to the intensity of the cultural exchange, human shared experience and also genuine, open and positive attitude towards the other through the whole of the interactions.
Thank you Dan for hosting me, time went by so quickly, but I hope we get to meet again… at some point in time!